God the Father Whose Reputation is the Tyrant
Why didn’t I get up earlier? It is this pesky thought that has made a home in my brain, ready at any minute to interrupt my concentration creating the illusion that perfection could be reached if I were only better or more intentional. I could have prayed. I could have cleaned. I could have written. If only I would have done ___ , I would be more pleasing to myself, to my husband, to my God.
I have heard it said that the number one lie that people believe is , “ I would be enough if ___”. We would be enough if we were more attractive or more productive or more popular or richer. The endless amount of words that could be used to fill that sentence has lately been all encompassing in “If only I had gotten up earlier”. This accusation has stuck to me like glue. I have found it hard to clear my mind and rest.
Last Friday, I walked into the chapel distracted by this very thought. I stared at the tabernacle reciting memorized prayers in my head and not meaning a single one of them. Aware of my fraudulent piety, I gave up on meditation, admitted my distraction and opened my latest prayer book.
“Even if you do nothing at mass but try to drive away distractions, you please Me all the same. I understand.”
I UNDERSTAND. Jesus understands.
As I read this, I realized that my shoulders were tense. I breathed out and began to meditate. I desperately need someone to understand.
See, my heart has been broken by the gospel. I have accepted that Jesus Christ is REAL and that Heaven and Hell are not fairylands. I see the effects of sin as society destroys itself at the pace of a slow boil. I have shaped my entire life based on the Truth of the Christian God and the validity of the Catholic faith. In believing in Him, however, I have failed to believe Him.
How often do I remove that nails from Jesus’ hand and replace it with a hammer? How often do I live out “Our Master” instead of “Our FATHER”? Why is it so hard for me to believe that my God can get me?
It is because I don’t understand. I expect far more from myself that does the God who made me. Does He desire me to resist the temptation of sin? Of course, He does but it is because He knows that where there is sin, there is death and He wants for me the fullness of LIFE. Does He desire me to become wise? Yes. Does He even desire my perfection? YES, He does. But He desires me to RECEIVE it all, not to grasp for it.
See, when we are in a posture of receiving, we can rest. We are able to wait on the Lord. When He asks us to move, we move. When He asks us to wait, we wait. When we receive from the Lord, we are protected from overwork and the illusion of control.
Many of us, however, live in a posture of grasping. If we are grasping to make it in this world, we are putting our trust in ourselves. We fail because we become our own tyrants, demanding what we cannot fully give. We are so much harder on ourselves than the Lord is on us. He understands.
He understands that world we live in. He gets the pressure to look and act a certain way. He knows the glamor of sin and why we would repeatedly give into it. He understands our shortcomings and our addictions. He sees the anxiety with which many of us deal and He gets that too. He does not want to meet us with a hammer ready to lay it down in judgment. He meets us with wounds from nails having laid Himself down in place of our judgment. If only we would believe Him and take the worldly pressure off ourselves. He desires that we let Him love us and let the love change us. We are not to judge ourselves but let him be the judge and be willing to receive much less that we deserve.
The book of Hebrews tells us, “For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason, he had to be made like them, [fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
He really does get it all.
Today on that Sabbath day which so many have forgotten for the sake of progress, I am changing my posture. I choose to rest from the self-accusations that propel me into meaningless, unfulfilling activity. I will instead glory in my Creator who loves me more than I love myself, expects less from my own power than I and understands me so much better than I understand myself. I will believe the truth that I am enough and that it is only He who can restore my soul.
Allow this for yourself this too.